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Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z


A deep exploration on what might be The Simpsons’ finest moment.

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  • N__B

    Does this mean you went to see the new Planet of the Apes movie tonight?

    • Erik Loomis


      I actually have never even seen the original. Although it turns out neither had some of the people working for The Simpsons who made the episode.

      • N__B

        I saw the original once, but I remember MAD’s “The Planet That Went Ape” in much more detail. I also saw the TV series, unless I hallucinated its existence.

        Comment edited to render it into something resembling english.

      • wjts

        I actually have never even seen the original.

        It’s not just the best movie I’ve ever seen about a planet of apes, it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen about a planet of apes.

        • JMP

          I’ve seen the original, the remake and the reboot that apparently was basically a remake of the third movie, and of those the original is still the best.

          • I saw the original on TV a long time ago and just sat through a screening of the entire reboot trilogy.

            The original is certainly good and groundbreaking…but it shows its age. The reboot is damn brilliant. Genuinely great movies, beautifully shot and wonderfully acted with good scripts, great action, and thoughtful themes well handled.

            One striking thing is how great the performance capture performances are. It’s a true collaboration between the actor and the animators.

      • tsam100

        Saw the original. It was pretty awful.

      • Breadbaker

        I saw the original as a first run Saturday matinee for someone or other’s birthday. It came out the year I turned 12, so we all were blown away by it.

  • hellslittlestangel

    I probably will regret weighing in on such a controversial topic, but I’ll always love the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire (Season 4).

    • wjts

      I prefer Stop the Planet of the Apes; I Want to Get Off! to Oh, Streetcar! because I’m more familiar with the source material. Also for this exchange:

      Parker: Troy! Mac Parker. Ever hear of… Planet of the Apes?
      Troy: Uh… the movie or the planet?
      Parker: The brand-new multi-million dollar musical, and you are starring… as the human.
      Troy: It’s the part I was born to play, baby!

      • hellslittlestangel

        Okay, you started this fight …

        Ned Flanders: Stella! Can’t you hear me yell-a? Stella!

        • wjts

          I’m not saying it’s a bad episode. But vide Murc infra.

        • FlipYrWhig

          I am just a lonely paperboy, no romance do I seek

          • wjts

            “He can talk! He can talk!”

            “I can siiiing!”

        • BiloSagdiyev

          If you want to go to hell
          you should take a trip
          to the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Miss-i-sipp!

    • Thomas W

      Yeah, Streetcar was better. And the secondary story involved the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

      • Henry Willis

        Some years ago I went to see the musical version of “The Dead,” which ends (IIRC) with a rousing dance of some sort. Awful desecration of Joyce’s short story; all I could think while waiting for the show to end was “The Springfield Community Theater’s version of ‘Streetcar’ was so much better.” Yes, it was that bad.

    • Bitter Scribe

      I’m with you. I think the Streetcar musical was much funnier. “You can always depend on the kindness of strangers…”

  • JMP

    It’s close, but I think this has got to be the best moment of The Simpsons:


    I don’t think it’s a coincidence, though, that both involve Phil Hartman, or that the show’s serious decline began not too long after his death.

    • hellslittlestangel

      “The ring came off my pudding can!”
      “Take my pen-knife, my good man!”

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “What about us drunken slobs?”
        “You’ll be given cushy jobs!”

    • Thomas W

      Honorable mention to the Citizen Kane-inspired bit. “His friends all call him Monty but to you he’s Mr. Burns.”

      • wjts

        At the risk of further dividing the commentariat, I’ll argue that the Bobo episode was the better Burns/Kane riff.

        • Thomas W

          I was thinking only of musical numbers, but “have the Rolling Stones killed” was pretty good.

          • wjts

            Fair enough.

            “Do as I say!”

            ETA: Though I think the musical high point may have been, “‘Baby on board… something, something… Burt Ward…’ This thing practically writes itself!”

            • Thomas W

              “Who needs the Kwik-E Mart?”

              • wjts

                Also a reasonable choice. As is “See My Vest”.

                • Bitter Scribe

                  Don’t forget “Maison Derriere (We Put the Spring in Springfield).”

        • Cheap Wino

          Have we forgotten ‘Cut Every Corner’ from the Sherry Bobbins episode?

  • Murc

    I have a longstanding theory that the reason people composing musical theater are so universally depressed and/or angry is because they know, deep in their souls, that they will never, ever write a line that’s superior to “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-a to chimpan-z.”

    It cannot be done.

  • postmodulator

    I liked the article but I think we’re running low on stuff to do oral histories of.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Every time people go ape for an oral history, I look forward to seeing an oral history of the oral history.

  • awarre

    What is so amazing about the Simpsons golden age is that the sequence, as amazingly good it is, probably doesn’t crack the top 25 best moments of seasons 3-9.

  • DiogenesOfRVA

    The “chimpan-a to chimpan-z” line was truly inspired – so much so that by itself it makes an irrefutable argument for the existence of the Muses.

    As my avatar indicates, I was inspired by a slightly different moment from The Simpsons:

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Wow. I had no memory of Dr. Colossus there. I always remembered the “cartoonish supervillainy” distinction. And, alas, blocking out the sun for commercial gain seems less cartoonish a possibility in today’s political culture.

      “Should moochers get the warmth and light of the sun for free? Experts disagree!”

      • wjts

        I think the Dr. Colossus bits were cut in syndication.

        • Bitter Scribe

          Must have been. I never saw that before.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Two of the funniest Simpsons line were uttered by guest stars:
    1) “I love you, Dr. Zeuss!!!” – Phil Hartman
    2) “Vera said that?!” – Robert Goulet (“$pringfield,” hands down my personal favorite episode)

    • wjts

      The bits in that about the boogeyman* are amazing.

      *Or boogeymen!

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        God yes. “I’m Idaho!”, the whole “…but youuuuuuuu have a gambling problem!!” monologue, Burns turning into Howard Hughes…that ep is wall to wall gold.

    • DiogenesOfRVA

      YES! I love that little bit with Robert Goulet.

  • Why were the Simpsons so good at parodying musicals?

    • Hogan

      Because Alf Clausen, that’s why.

  • Donalbain

    Sorry, but the Simpsons’ finest moment is this:
    Or possibly this:
    Or maybe this:

    In short, You Only Move Twice is the single greatest episode of TV that has ever been made.

    • wjts

      Second-greatest. “Homer at the Bat” is the greatest.

      • Donalbain

        That is too niche, most of the world doesn’t know who any of the guest stars are. Pretty much everyone is aware of the Bond Movie tropes.

        • Drew

          Ah but Scott has gotten a lot of mileage out of the “Begin the thawing of _______” line.

          And one of my favorite Barney lines “I say England’s greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!”

  • wjts

    Off-topic, but today’s Doctor Who news seems like it might be of interest to some of the nerds around here.

    • Drew

      Awesome! I am so behind. I’m about halfway through Matt Smith’s tenure.

  • manyspaceships

    Greatest TV comedy fake musical ever? Its gotta be this one…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUK6rY7X1Gs

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